Branding

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

What's the first thing someone will think about your company the first time they experience it?
How consistently is your intended impression made?
 

All visual elements of a company convey information about it. Those elements include all printed materials such as business cards, promotional fliers, technical documents and product packaging. They also includes web sites, slide presentations and any multimedia used to sell product or represent the company. Beyond that, visual elements include the company facility, its lobby, vehicles, conference rooms, etc.

 

The messages communicated through those elements are a large part of the branding of a company and can make business success harder or easier. So, all aspects of appearance need to be carefully considered and managed. A company built on leading edge research and technology, like a biotechnology or engineering firm, should have a different image than one focused on personal comfort or satisfaction, such as a restaurant or health club.

Proper Brand Management

This means continuous and consistent application of a brand's image and message in all communication channels. However, even though it is consistently presented, the image shouldn't be static or allowed to become stagnant. Depending on a specific purpose, a marketing message can be modified so various features of a product or product group can be emphasized. Likewise, the style and content of a brand image or message should take into account the intended audience and its sensitivities based on key factors such as socio-economics and gender.

Nonetheless, there should be a common look and voice of all messages a company delivers. Here is the web site Coca Cola developed for their market in Mexico: http://www.cocacola.com.mx/razonesparacreer. The logo, images and messages tie with Coca Cola's overall corporate branding program. Yet, the site is distinctly different from the one targeting the US: http://www.cocacola.com

Traditional vs Contemporary

If a company has a long history and a strong tradition, it's important to communicate that to the market. Maintaining a well established, storied logo is one way to do that. But, after the passage of time, a brand image needs to be updated to stay fresh and timely and demonstrate how the company does business in modern times. One way to combine tradition and relevance is to use a classic logo image in a new, more modern context.

 

The Coca Cola script logo was created in 1885 and is known all over the world. But, Coca Cola has kept that brand fresh and relevant by featuring it on new, diet versions of the soft drink as well as online video games and many other very modern media.

Sometimes circumstances call for a well established logo to be replaced. After one hundred years,
because of corporate realignment and a desire to present a more international image, AT&T
abandoned its Bell Telephone logo in favor of a striated globe. That is the symbol it has today.
(Insert 3 AT&T logos)

A logo or wordmark is an important element in a branding message. And, although it’s not the only
element, it should be carefully crafted and faithfully reproduced along with any color schemes.
There are some key issues to keep in mind when designing a logo or other image so that image can
be recognizable when reproduced on a variety of media, including paper, clothing or metal -
depending on the company’s business.

It’s fine to use the company name (e.g. Coca Cola) or some abstract image (e.g. AT&T or
McDonalds) as a logo. Be careful when combining words and images. Remember, that image
should be reproduceable in any necessary media, including web sites, product packaging and
stationary. A best situation is if the logo image looks good reproduced in color or black and white.

Stick to simple color schemes in shades that are appropriate for the business. The colors used in
the logo and published images should match the color scheme you use for all and messaging and
packaging. The best colors for branding are those that make people comfortable or stimulate their
senses. Often restaurants choose warm colors such as burgundy and burnt orange to encourage a
sense of comfort and to make patrons want to linger. When people relax over dinner, they are more
likely to enjoy a leisurely dessert or a cup of coffee.

Bright red and yellow are hot colors that stimulate excitement. Virtually all logos, advertisements
and menus of fast food chains feature these colors. Cool colors like green and blue are very
popular for use with over-the-counter medicines and health products. Blue is associated with
tranquility and also represents water, a life force. Blue has also been shown to reduce a person’s
appetite, which is why it is not often chosen for restaurants.

Comprehensive Use

A comprehensive branding program includes putting the logo and message in as many places as
possible, including clothing, packaging, promotional or technical documents, invoices,
applications, vehicles, offices and any give away or promotional items. The more consistently the
company image and message are delivered the better each incident reinforces the others.